June Newsletter, The World Races Towards Net Zero

June Newsletter, The World Races Towards Net Zero

 


Citizens’ Climate Lobby Australia acknowledges the Traditional Custodians of the country across Australia, respecting their connection to sea, land and community. We pay our respects to their elders, past, present and emerging, and extend that respect to all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples today.


Notes from the Chair, Rod Mitchell

Another eventful month as CCL Australia has continued building towards our vision of Australia leading the global “race to zero” as we approach COP26 in November. Professor John Hewson was our Monthly Meeting Guest Speaker for June, we heard his thoughts on carbon pricing in the current political climate. Emma Storey and Jim Allen have had another breakthrough by getting letters in the Australian! We continue to get letters in the Financial Review on carbon pricing and sometimes specifically on fee and dividend. Our thanks to our many letter writers. Over the past couple of months, we have had over 20 MP meetings including with Chris Bowen, Paul Fletcher, Senator Scott Ryan, Penny Wong and Ken Wyatt. We have more meetings scheduled in the month ahead and have plans for another “lobby month” in September. Our Grasstops engagement is taking off and we are beginning to get good endorsements for the Australian Climate Dividend (ACD). Our meetings with Woodside led to a very constructive meeting with the Business Council of Australia. Our ‘Team of Teams’ structure is coming together well and we are getting more and more organised for growing new chapters across the country. Our Donations Page on Chuffed is working well and ready to receive your donations – you will have seen our ‘tax-time appeal’ emails (check your junk mail if you haven’t!). Please respond as generously as you can. And our Marketing and Strategy Teams are making great progress working out how best to make ACD well known to many more Australians. Please enjoy our newsletter!

Rod Mitchell, National Chair.


Upcoming Events

By Lisha Chaves, CCL Australia Volunteer

Australian National Conversation (online)

 Thursday, 17th June, 8 pm NSW, VIC, QLD, ACT, TAS | 730 pm SA, NT | 6 pm WA

The National Conversation will be held on Thursday 17th of June. We will hear from both leaders and members of our eight core teams about the progress that they are making and the challenges they are addressing, as they work together to achieve our vision of achieving Net Zero in Australia through the Australian Climate Dividend and a Climate Smart Recovery. The Conversation will lay the foundations to allow us to reach our goal of an active group in every electorate. It will also be an interactive session to seek ideas for a new name, to discuss the recruiting and onboarding of team members, and to engage feedback on changes in recent months. Please join us to support the vital work our team is doing to create the political will for a liveable world. We love to hear from all active volunteers—your feedback helps CCL Australia develop. Join us on Zoom at: https://zoom.us/j/7868786878

 

June Action: Letter to MPs

Our National Chair, Rod Mitchell, has created a written letter template to MPs to emphasise the importance of implementing the Australian Climate Dividend (ACD) for Australia to achieve net-zero emissions. This letter outlines the numerous benefits of the ACD—that it is the simplest, most efficient, and fairest way to achieve our Net Zero goal and simultaneously stimulate the economy. The Regional Coordinators and Group Leaders are coordinating the sending of the letters. It is not intended as a mass mailing—only one letter for each MP, preferably from one of their constituents.

July Monthly Guest Speaker (online)

By Maree Nutt, CCL Australia Volunteer

Sunday 4th July 4.30 pm NSW, VIC, QLD, ACT, TAS | 4 pm SA, NT | 2.30 pm WA

Save the date! CCL Australia National Guest Speaker Call on Sunday the 4th of July. Our speaker is Harry Guinness, CEO and co-founder of the Blueprint Institute. Established only one year ago, the Blueprint has already produced several cutting-edge reports and commentaries on energy reform, emissions reductions, employment, and the recent budget. Prior to founding Blueprint Institute, Harry was an advisor to former Foreign Minister and Deputy Leader of the Liberal Party, Julie Bishop. Following the talk, we divide into groups to discuss the issue in detail. All welcome via Zoom: https://citizensclimate.zoom.us/j/7868786878

Harry Guinness is CEO and co-founder of the Blueprint Institute. He served as an advisor to former Foreign Minister and Deputy Leader of the Liberal Party, Julie Bishop.

 

For more information on upcoming events, please visit https://au.citizensclimatelobby.org/upcoming-events/


Lobbying News

By Lisha Chaves and Meredith Kraina, CCL Australia Volunteers

Meeting with Steven Wright

Rod Mitchell, Warwick Smith and Joyce Erceg met with Senior Policy Advisor at the Business Council of Australia (BCA), Steven Wright. This organisation represents over 150 companies. Small, medium and large business is the backbone of Australia’s labour force, as it employs 6 out of 7 Australians. We asked BCA to be part of a push to become more united and assertive in calls for carbon pricing. We will be meeting again in a couple of months, after the release of a document they are working on at present, which may partially cover this topic. Wright did say that a carbon price is something that most of their members agree with.

Hume Citizens’ Climate Lobby’s Meet with Richie Merzian

Hume Citizens’ Climate Lobby recently met with speaker Richie Merzian last month. He is the inaugural director of the Climate and Energy Program at the Australian Institute. He was the Australian Government representative to the UN Climate Change Conference and is also a co-founder of the Australian Youth Climate Coalition. In the meeting, Merzian focused on the importance of moving towards zero-emission targets and renewable energy. He explained that the actions to move to renewable energy sources will create jobs while ensuring clean air and security. He also spoke about the need to generate more electricity from renewables after the establishment of adequate renewable sources. The complete article, Hume Citizens’ Climate Lobby talks about renewables (Neha Attre, 11/5/2021), published in Goulburn Post, can be viewed here.

CCL Hume hosted Richie Merzian. Image: Goulburn Post

Hume Citizens’ Climate Lobby’s meet with Gabrielle Chan

Gabrielle Chan is a political freelance journalist and the author of Rusted Off – Why Country Australia is Fed Up. She is accustomed to Australian rural life and is experienced in addressing issues related to farming and land management. Hume Citizens’ Climate Lobby met with Chan on June 3rd, she spoke about climate change and its impact on farming and land management. She stated that she is eager to see more discussion regarding the “interdependencies” of community and farming, as well as farming and environment. Chan has views consistent with the implementation of the Australian Climate Dividend. A spokesperson said, “She feels that consumer purchasing power is a way for the individual to take control of their own contribution towards existential threats like climate change, whilst also pushing corporations towards conscious and responsible practices.” The complete article, Hume Citizens Climate Lobby talks about climate change and agriculture (by Neha Attre, 8/6/2021), published in the Goulburn Post, can be viewed here.

CCL Hume hosted Gabrielle Chan. Image: Goulburn Post

 


Sunday Monthly Meeting with John Hewson

Hewson, We Have a Problem – and Solutions

By Trent Whitehand-Willick, CCL Australia Volunteer.

Professor John Hewson was our guest speaker on Sunday the 6th of June. Hewson held several prominent positions in the Liberal Party throughout the 1980s, before leading the party from 1990-1994. A professor of economics, Hewson is a Founder of Macquarie Bank and has been a chairman/director for a host of public and private companies. He is Chair for Business Council for Sustainable Development Australia, Chair for Bioenergy Australia, and more. Hewson is also a prominent social and political commentator across a range of forums. 

Hewson has been involved in climate advocacy for decades now. “I’ve been at the issue of climate since the late eighties”, he said, describing a bygone era of Canberra: not so beset by special interest groups and partisanship, both major parties unanimously supported emissions reductions.

Hewson explained that consensus is now replaced by “a race to the bottom” through both suppression and avoidance of the issue. Both major parties’ national policy platforms are refusing the global acceleration towards net-zero.  Nation-states, corporations, businesses and civil society groups are increasingly adapting to this necessity. Yet, Australian governments continue to “ignore market forces and evidence”, he told us. 

He believes no international policy authority accepts the full extent of climate change. Years of political gridlock and disinformation have inhibited international ambition. For example, where the 1997 Kyoto Protocol sought mitigation, the 2016 Paris Agreement seeks adaption. Nonetheless, the global economy is restructuring towards net-zero while Canberra refuses. 

The relevance of the technological shift required to do so is on par with the industrial revolution, Hewson stated. It requires long-term planning and strategy. Without this, Australia risks technological disparity and annual COVID-19 scale recessions, he continued. Simultaneously, Hewson noted, the costs of increasingly severe and frequent bushfire seasons are forecast to increase. This would compound our economic woes. The situation is “not in the national interest”, he said. 

Nonetheless, he understands there are solutions. Foremost, that climate change should be the 2021 election focus. If so, it could be an opportunity for independents to defibrillate Australia’s climate policy. He exampled independent MP Kerryn Phelps’ successful election campaign, which swung Wentworth’s (NSW) perennially conservative seat by an astonishing seventeen percent, focusing on climate change and government accountability.  According to Hewson, if enough independents campaign similarly, they could hold the balance of power in parliament for both major parties and deliver policy solutions.

Climate credits could provide vital assistance to Australian farmers. He indicated that carbon credits could form a vital safety net for Australian agriculturalists that operate with zero or negative-zero emissions. Carbon credits could form a secondary income that protects farmers from natural disasters. This readily available policy solution would incentivise more farmers to transition to net-zero, further reducing Australian emissions. 

Hewson argued that Australia is technologically capable of whole-scale renewable energy with battery reserves. We also have ample political opportunity – polling demonstrates substantial public support for stronger climate governance. The global political economy is moving accordingly. Many advanced industrial nations are beginning to implement carbon prices and accordingly, he stated that “a carbon price is inevitable”. 

Hewson gave an honest and realistic canvassing of Australia’s climate predicament. He was candid in his criticisms of both major political parties and in discussing the severity of the climate crisis while noting the solutions at hand.

Watch the full presentation here.

 

John Hewson and Kerryn Phelps side by side at the National Press Club in Canberra. Hewson believes independents like Phelps could revitalise Canberra’s climate policy. Picture by: Kym Smith


Help our volunteers Chuff along

All of CCL Australia’s work is volunteer-based.  Donations enable us to appoint the staff we need to support you, our valued supporters, to create the political will for a liveable world. We have set up a donation portal on Chuffed.org. If you haven’t yet donated, please consider doing so here.

 

Image by Lily Aika O’Toole


Climate News

Want to stay on top of climate and energy news? Be sure to check out Jenny Goldie’s most recent “The Climate This Week“ news reports on the politics, economics and science of climate action. You can find them all here.

 

The week before the Australian Federal Court delivered its landmark judgment on climate change, students were striking for climate action, demanding the federal government stop using taxpayer money for fossil fuels. AAP Image: James Ross. Sourced from The Conversation

 


A Month for Climate Advocacy

By Trent Whitehand-Willick, CCL Australia Volunteer.

World Environment Day (5/6)

Reimagine. Recreate. Restore. #GenerationRestoration

On World Environment Day, The United Nations launched its Decade on Ecosystem Restoration (2021-2030) – a global campaign aiming to revive billions of hectares of ecosystems. As such, World Environment Day focused on ecosystem restoration this year, with the theme of: “Reimagine. Recreate. Restore”. 

“This is our moment. We cannot turn back time. But we can grow trees, green our cities, rewild our gardens, change our diets and clean up rivers and coasts. We are the generation that can make peace with nature. Let’s get active, not anxious. Let’s be bold, not timid. Join #GenerationRestoration”

 

Images by Lily Aika O’Toole, CCL Australia Volunteer.

World Oceans Day World (8/6)

30×30

World Ocean Day was this month and its Action Focus is to protect at least 30% of our blue planet by 2030 (“30×30”).  As Sierra Farr illustrates below, A healthy ocean is crucial to a liveable climate and healthy ecosystem. By supporting 30×30 we can help protect our planet’s life support systems and future generations.

World leaders are deciding the future of our planet and oceans this year. You can have your voice heard by signing the 30×30 Petition and help protect our vital ecosystems for future generations. 

Images by Lily Aika O’Toole, CCL Australia Volunteer.

World Refugee Day (20/6) and National Refugee Week (20-26/6): 

World Refugee Day and National Refugee Week provide an opportunity to honour refugees and garner support for the plights of refugees around the world. See how you can get involved here.

The Global Compact on Refugees (2018) recognises that “climate, environmental degradation and disasters increasingly interact with the drivers of refugee movement”.   As early as 1990, the International Panel on Climate Change stated that one of the greatest impacts on climate change may be on human migration. Climate change may cause an increase in displaced peoples, resulting in climate refugees—often also referred to as “forced migrants” or “climate migrants”. Current forecasts estimate that the incidence of climate migrants could range from twenty-five million to one billion by 2050. The most commonly accepted estimate is 200 million by 2050. This would be a ten-fold increase to current documented refugee and internally displaced populations.
(Source: Brown, O. 2008. ‘Migration and Climate Change’, in IOM Migration Series, No. 31, Ilse Pinto-Dobernig (ed). International Organisation for Migration. Geneva, Switzerland).

 

Images by Lily Aika O’Toole, CCL Australia Volunteer.

 


For Our Children

By Tom Hunt, CCL Australia Volunteer.

I have admired Professor John Hewson for a long time, but never so much as in recent years. He provides such clear and wise words on the very problem that so worries me. With a lifetime of experience in Australian economics, business and government, John has a very clear understanding of the world and its problems. He is prolific with his sensible and valued commentary. No longer beholding to the political bubble or constrained by the strings that lead our government, he is able to speak freely and clearly about Australia’s problems and its opportunities. Professor Hewson shares my passion for solutions to the climate crisis. While our society has developed all the technologies we will need to solve the problem, profits and politics hold us back. I look to John as an inspiration for everyone and especially our current government who can’t even bring themselves to put a price on the pollution that is killing us, a price that even fossil fuel companies are asking for. While sitting for the portrait, John mentioned that his daughters’ placards, with words they had chosen to use in the worldwide children’s “strike for climate”, really said it all.

 

Tom Hunt’s portrait of John Hewson.

About the artist

Tom, a systems engineer and project manager, took up art just before retiring in 2016 and had used it as a diversion from his volunteer activities in climate advocacy (Wollongong Climate Action Network, Illawarra Greens, Global Climate Change Week, Renew Illawarra, and most recently and importantly Citizens Climate Lobby Australia). With an academic background in science and a home just above sea level, he studied the climate issue in detail for himself. He is extremely worried by the state of the planet that his generation is leaving for their children and grandchildren. He now strives to help provide the political will for a liveable world.
Tom’s ‘leaf pixel’ style was inspired by the Falkirk Kelpies in Scotland, by his doctor’s waiting room (where he studied a modern aboriginal artwork), by his art teacher Christine Gordon-Smith, but most of all by humanity’s inextricable connection with the environment.


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Citizens’ Climate Lobby Australia acknowledges
the Traditional Custodians of the Lands
on which we live, lobby, advocate, and educate.
We pay our respect to Elders past, present and emerging, and extend that respect to all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples today.

Appreciation to Karen Liang, Akshay Vallam, Sierra Farr, Lisha Chaves, Jason Am, Meredith Kraina, and Rachel Mattiske for forming this newsletter.
Thank you to all who contributed writing.
Edited by Trent Whitehand-Willick.